Supporters launch campaign to support Nashville rapid transit - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Supporters launch campaign to support Nashville rapid transit

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean Nashville Mayor Karl Dean
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

The future of public transit in Nashville remains a touchy topic, and those supporting a massive and expensive plan for a new rapid bus system in Music City made their opinions known Friday.

A coalition of AMP supporters officially launched the "AMP Yes" campaign, and some political heavy hitters showed up to the rally to throw their support behind the plan.

The proposal would install a 7.1-mile bus system that connects St. Thomas West Hospital near White Bridge Road all the way to Five Points in East Nashville.

Opponents, whose red "Stop AMP" signs dot yards along the proposed path, say the bus system would hurt traffic flow and cost the city too much money.

But the mayor, in one of his more animated public speeches, defended the AMP on Friday as the right project at the right time.

"This is going to be fun, because, at the end of the day, we're going to look back at this - 10, 15 years from now - sort of paraphrasing Shakespeare, we're going to be the lucky few. We're going to be the ones who stood up for what was right. We're going to be the ones who fought to move this city forward. And we're going to move this city forward," Mayor Karl Dean said.

Rick Williams attended the kick off event and wasn't impressed.

"It's a sales pitch is all it is, because this project is losing support every day," Williams said. The 'Stop AMP' signs are gaining ground all over Nashville, and he knew he had to have a rally."

The Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority still needs to finish its application to the federal government. MTA will need $75 million in federal transit money to make the project a reality.

Even then, the state must approve the specific details, and opponents say that could pose a bigger problem.

"The governor and the commissioner of transportation have to approve this project. I cannot speak for them, but I've been told they have grave concerns about this project," Williams said.

A spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Transportation tells Channel 4 News the commissioner does have some concerns but not an opinion on the project for now.

Currently, two separate groups oppose the AMP. There seem to be indications, however, they could soon join forces and may change their sign slogan to "Amp No" in light of Friday's developments.

Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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